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REF10 SE120

The Ultimate Audiophile 10 MHz Reference Master Clock

"Thanks to the ultra-precise 10 MHz clock signals, the "Special Edition" proves to be the ultimate sound optimizer for any compatible digital system." – Harald Wittig, Fidelity - 06/2020, Germany

The REF10 SE120 is a special version of the successful audiophile reference clock generator REF10 that we have further enhanced in terms of signal performance. The exceptional quality of the original REF10 has been confirmed many times since its launch in 2017 – in numerous reviews from specialized magazines and through enthusiastic user feedback. A clock generator from MUTEC significantly increases the quality of digital music playback, even and especially with demanding high‑end systems and studio installations. Because it provides the foundation for perfect signal processing in a digital audio chain: the extremely low‑noise reference clock.

The "tuning" variant REF10 SE120 outperforms the original model REF10 in this regard considerably. A clearly measurable advantage is the result of a special feature of the REF10 SE120: its much more elaborately manufactured and selected oven‑controlled quartz oscillator (OCXO). This oscillator is selected according to the strictest standards in test procedures lasting many hours with the help of exceptionally precise and expensive measuring technology. The use of such an outstanding oscillator is responsible for the fact that the REF10 SE120 from MUTEC currently delivers - to our knowledge - the lowest phase noise, respectively jitter values in the industry. This outstanding technical performance has a noticeable impact on the sonic result. Precision, transparency, spatiality and dynamics of the musical presentation reach an unprecedented level and will inspire you!

Like the proven REF10, the optimized REF10 SE120 is extremely flexible. Because of its versatile connectivity this MUTEC clock generator can be successfully integrated in a wide variety of configurations while maintaining an easy way of operation. If you want to maximize the sound potential of your compatible DA converter, music server or audio re‑clocker in every respect, you need the REF10 SE120 from MUTEC!

Features:

  • 10 MHz reference master clock generator with ultimately low phase noise of ‑120 dBc at 1 Hz
  • Improves and enhances compatible DACs, audio re‑clockers, music servers and master clocks
  • Engineered around an elaborately manufactured and selected OCXO made in Germany with outstanding low noise
  • Generates a very high slew‑rate square wave signal for superior lock precision
  • Provides simultaneous reference outputs with 50 Ω and 75 Ω impedance for maximum compatibility with audio components by other manufacturers
  • Eight galvanically isolated, individually switchable BNC clock outputs
  • Sub‑Hz optimized, lowest noise power supply for every circuit section
  • Integrated highest quality international linear power supply
  • Highly efficient power line filtering
  • Intuitive user interface with noble appearance
  • Rack‑mountable for studio use with optional mounting brackets (2 RU)


Description

The Development towards the REF10 SE120

The great success of the well‑established MUTEC REF10 has proven the extremely positive, clearly audible influence such a meticulously developed reference clock generator has on the sonic performance of a digital audio system. Despite the worldwide praise of the device by users of all kinds, MUTEC is always driven by the same question: can we do even better?

The positive answer is available in the shape of the REF10 SE120. Because already during the development of the REF10 we noticed how extremely important the selection of the central clock oscillator is. Its quality determines the technical and consequently also the acoustic result of a reference clock generator to a considerable extent. That is why the renowned German developer of the REF10 has been appointed to help improving and optimizing the production processes around the new ultra‑low phase noise oscillator to make it successfully suitable for being the heart of the REF10 SE120.

The basis for this new oscillator is naturally a SC‑cut crystal material, but here it gets very elaborately selected especially with regard to the ultra‑low phase noise specifications to be achieved. After assembling and by using specialized and cost‑intensive measurement technology, the selection of the oscillators continues with three‑stage in‑depth measurements. Thus, after the last measurements individual specimens from large production quantities can be selected successfully as the best oscillators for use in a REF10 SE120.

These oscillators reliably offer phase noise values of <‑120 dBc measured at 1 Hz offset from the carrier frequency of 10 MHz. Values like this have never been reached before! Such technical performance also positively influences the phase noise at audio-relevant measuring intervals of 10 Hz and 100 Hz. As a result, a REF10 SE120 offers uniquely low jitter measured values of an average of <15 fs in the crucial measuring range between 1-100 Hz!


Exclusive + Limited

Naturally, only a small number of oscillators complete our demanding test course for selection successfully. That is why the REF10 SE120 will only be available in small batches. The lucky owners of an exclusive REF10 SE120 will gain a fascinating experience. The musical reproduction quality of their high-class audio setup fuelled by this special edition of the REF10 rises significantly – especially in the areas of precision, transparency, spatiality and dynamics. The REF10 SE120 is currently not only the absolute top product in MUTEC's Empyreal Class, but also claiming the industry-leading position in the field of audiophile reference clock generators.


Stability Factor vs The Myth of the Atomic Clock

The so-called “atomic clock” is generally regarded as a prime example of extraordinary frequency precision. However, our research has shown that the high clock stability of atomic clocks based on a rubidium or caesium oscillator is limited to the long-term time domain. This long-term stability refers to the amount the absolute clock frequency (10 MHz, or 10 million cycles per second, in this case) drifts over time. While this long-term stability may be useful for some telecommunications applications, it is essentially irrelevant for digital audio purposes. In fact, the accuracy of the time interval from one sample to the next sample determines the sound quality, i.e. the stability viewed in a very short time range. Changes in this short-term stability are usually measured as jitter or phase noise. These are decisive for the sound quality of all digital audio devices.

In contrast to these atomic clocks the REF10 SE120 is engineered around MUTEC’s extremely elaborately selected, handcrafted, oven-controlled quartz oscillator (OCXO) made in Germany. This OCXO offers a standard-setting frequency stability in the time domain relevant for audiophile music playback.


Perfect Conditions

MUTEC has created an optimal environment for the exclusive OCXO within the REF10SE120.

It starts in an essential segment for every high-end component: the well designed main power supply. Therefore, a double linear power supply is used, based on a toroidal transformer made in Germany. It provides a dedicated transformer winding for the sensitive OCXO that is completely isolated form the surrounding circuit. Networks of lowest-ESR (equivalent series resistance) capacitors made by prestigious manufactures ensure best interference suppression for the supply voltages. Hereafter, sub-Hz optimized, lowest-noise voltage sources arranged in multiple stages independently supply every part of the circuit to avoid mutual interference.

For the heart of the REF10 SE120, the handcrafted OCXO, we went even further by developing a voltage source with exceptionally low noise. In line with this, extremely low-noise clock distribution and amplification circuits ensure that the reference signal of the quartz oscillator in the audio-relevant measuring range of 1-100 Hz distance from the carrier frequency (10 MHz) is transported loss-free (!) to the eight outputs of the REF10 SE120.

Phase noise of the REF10 SE120 as a function of frequency
Phase noise of the REF10 SE120 as a function of frequency

Based on our knowledge of the importance of a clock signal’s rise time (steepness of the edge) for the digital audio performance, the REF10 SE120 delivers square-wave signals with very high slew rate and lowest ripple at the outputs.

In contrast to the low slew-rate sine wave signals used by competing brands, this leads to superior lock precision in terms of speed and stability and therefore minimized jitter at the receiving end. This fact is i. e. largely responsible for the sound quality improvement of connected DACs and audio clock generators.

The exceptionally high slew-rate, lowest ripple square wave signal of the REF10 SE120
The exceptionally high slew-rate, lowest ripple square wave signal of the REF10 SE120


Steel Shielding

An often discussed topic among audiophiles is the negative influence of RF (radio-frequency) interference in digital audio playback. In order to shield the REF10 SE120 from such RFI and other interference we are placing the circuit boards in a 1.5 mm thick steel enclosure. In contrast to the commonly used aluminum housings, the shielding of the electronics and thus the insulation against external disturbances is significantly improved hereby. Therefore, any external high-frequency interference does not have a detrimental effect on the noise and jitter freedom of the generated clock signals.


Mains Filter

RF interference can also enter the circuitry via the mains power connection. To avoid a power line interference as best as possible, we have equipped the REF10 SE120 with one of the best premium brand-name power entry modules currently available. This module offers enhanced low frequency filtering and superior EMI immunity. As part of its mechanical design there are no open unfiltered power cables inside the unit. Another aspect where the REF10 SE120 distinguishes itself from many other products on the market.


Galvanic Insulation

In order to minimize the susceptibility to hum caused by ground loops all output stages of the REF10 SE120 are galvanically isolated. Each BNC reference clock output can be switched on and off individually, so that only the required outputs have to be active. This special feature of the REF10 SE120 also helps to minimize high frequency interference as much as possible.


Reference Clock Reference

The REF10 SE120 is a reference clock that fills the term “reference” with meaning in two ways. First, because of its function: it generates an optimized master clock to which all subsequent devices in the digital audio chain refer to. Second, because of its quality: as the top product from MUTEC, the REF10 SE120 also represents a new standard in this specific category of audio components. This master clock generator sets new peak marks in the key areas of phase noise, respectively jitter.

The amazing sound performance – based on superior technology – can be easily realized in many different audio setups. Because the REF10 SE120 is straightforward and extremely flexible to use. You do not have to worry about system integration at all - instead, you can fully enjoy the best possible music playback straight away. With the help of a REF10 SE120 the audiophile sound quality of compatible D/A converters, music servers and audio re-clockers will be increased to the highest possible level.

The REF10 SE120 is the perfect match for devices with a 10 MHz input, such as MUTEC's MC3+ and MC3+USB Smart Clocks as well as the iClock and iClock dp.

Eight simultaneous available clock outputs at both 50 Ω and 75 Ω impedance allow you to use the REF10 SE120 in combination with not just MUTEC products, but also 10 MHz compatible components by other third-party manufacturers.


10 MHz Compatible Products Currently in Production:

Manufacturer Product Impedance (Ω) Type
MUTEC MC‑3+ Smart Clock 75 Audio Re-Clocker, -Clock Generator
  MC‑3+ Smart Clock USB 75 Audio Re-Clocker, -Clock Generator, USB Interface
  iClock, iClock dp 75 Audio/Video Clock Generator
Abendrot Audio Everest 901 50 ADC
  Hengst 50 DAC
Antelope Audio Zodiac Platinum 384 kHz 75 DAC
  Rubicon 75 DAC
  LiveClock 75 Audio Clock Generator
  Isochrone OCX, OCX HD, OCX‑V, Trinity 75 Audio/Video Clock Generator
  Pure 2 75 ADC/DAC
  Goliath 75 Audio-Interface
  Goliath HD 75 Audio-Interface
  Orion 75 Audio-Interface
  Orion 32+ | GEN 3 75 Audio-Interface
  Orion 32HD | GEN 3 75 Audio-Interface
  Amári 75 Audio-Interface
Audio Design SyncroGenius HD‑Pro 75 Audio/Video Clock Generator
Audio-gd DI-20, DI-20HE 50 USB-Interface, DDC
  R-7, R-7HE (2020 versions) 50 DAC
Aurender W20 N/A Music Server
Brainstorm DCD‑12 (discontinued) 75 Audio/Video Clock Generator
  DCD‑24 75 Audio/Video Clock Generator
  DXD‑8 75 Audio/Video Clock Generator
  DXD‑16 75 Audio/Video Clock Generator
CH Precision C1 (with SNYC_IO board) 75 DAC
  D1 (with SNYC_IO board) 75 SACD Transport, DAC
  I1 (with SNYC_IO board) 75 Universal Amplifier
dCS Vivaldi Master Clock 75 Audio Clock Generator
  Paganini Master Clock, Scarlatti Master Clock (discontinued) 75 Audio Clock Generator
Esoteric Grandioso G1 50 Audio Clock Generator
  Grandioso K1 50 SACD Player
  Grandioso P1/D1 50 SACD Transport, DAC
  K‑0575 SACD Player
  K‑01X, K‑03X, K‑05X, K‑07X75 SACD Player
  P‑02X, P‑05X 50 SACD Transport
  D‑02X, D‑05X 50 DAC
  N‑05 75 Network Player
  G‑01X, G‑02X 50 Audio Clock Generator
Evertz 5601MSC N/A Audio/Video Clock Generator
Gustard U-16 50 USB-Interface, DDC
iFi Audio Pro iDSD N/A DAC
M2TECH EVO DAC TWO PLUS 75 DAC
  HIFACE EVO TWO N/A DAC
Phasetech/PhasemationHD‑7A 50 DAC
RATOC RAL‑DSDHA2 50 DAC
Rostec ASD16HD 75 Audio/Video Clock Generator
Sforzato DSP‑00EX 50 Network Player
  DSP‑010EX, DSP‑030EX 50 Network Player, DAC
  DSP‑04EX 50 DAC
Soul Note D‑2 50 DAC
Sound Warrior SWD‑CL10 50/75Audio Clock Generator
SOtM sMS‑1000SQ
(with sCLK‑EX Expansion)
50/75Music Server
  sMS‑200ultra
(with sCLK‑EX Expansion)
50/75Network Player
  sNH‑10G
(with sCLK‑EX Expansion)
50/75Network Switch
  tX‑USBultra
(with sCLK‑EX Expansion)
50/75USB Regenerator
SPEC RMP‑X1 50 Network Player
Studio Technologies M5401 Dante© Master Clock 75 Network Master Clock
Tascam CG‑1000, CG‑1800, CG‑2000 50/75Audio/Video Clock Generator
TEAC UD‑503, UD‑505 50 DAC
  NT‑503, NT‑505 50 Network Player, DAC
TechDAS D‑7, D7i 50 DAC
UpTone Audio EtherREGEN 75 Network Switch

Disclaimer: Compatibility of the REF10 with the above listed products is assumed based on the specifications published by the respective manufacturers and subject to change. MUTEC is not liable for compatibility issues with third-party products operating outside of industry standards.


With MUTEC to "heavenly" sound!

Within the Empyreal Audio Class series, MUTEC offers special digital audio devices dedicated to the demanding users of top-quality hi-fi stereo systems. These unique products benefit from MUTEC's decades of expertise in the field of professional studio technology. This knowledge flows into the development of audiophile tools that have outstanding sonic abilities.

A MUTEC Empyreal Audio Class component always focuses on features most relevant for authentic sound reproduction in a high-end audio system. Decorative accessories or cluttered front plates are alien to these devices. Therefore, the operation is designed to be user-friendly and convenient. On the outside, the series is characterized by functionalism combined with simple elegance. Internally, the highest level of technical precision can be found based on best available materials. Both aspects support the conceptual goal of the Empyreal Audio Class: pure concentration on what is technically essential.

All MUTEC devices of the Empyreal Audio Class series represent long-term investment because of their highest quality at all levels - of course "Made In Germany".


Technical Data

Interfaces

  • 2 x 10 MHz reference clock BNC output, 50 Ω terminated, unbalanced
  • 6 x 10 MHz reference clock BNC output, 75 Ω terminated, unbalanced

Signal Format of all Clock Outputs

  • Square wave, 10.000 MHz, 2 Vpp, 50:50 duty cycle

Clock Generation

  • Type: 10.000 MHz ultra-low noise oven-controlled crystal oscillator
  • FQ stability when shipped: < +/-0.01 ppm
  • FQ stability vs. temperature range: < +/-0.01 ppm within -20 °C to +70 °C (-4 °F to +158 °F)
  • Short term stability (Allan deviation) at Tau = 1 s: 2.5 x 10-13 (typically)
  • Aging after 30 days operation:
    < +/-0.0002 ppm (per day),
    < +/-0.03 ppm (1st year),
    < +/-0.2 ppm (10 years)
  • Warm-up time at +25 °C (+77 °F) : <5 min

Phase Noise, Measured at REF10 SE120’s Outputs

Phase noise, measured at REF10 SE120’s outputs
Phase noise of the REF10 SE120 as a function of frequency

Phase noise dBc/Hz
1 Hz: ≤ -120
10 Hz: ≤ -148
100 Hz: ≤ -162
1000 Hz: ≤ -167
Noise floor: ≤ -170

Jitter Performance, Measured at REF10 SE120’s Outputs

1-100 Hz: ≈ 15 fs

Jitter performance, measured at REF10 SE120’s outputs
Jitter performance of the REF10 SE120

Disclaimer: All measurement figures represent average values. Minor production related deviations will be expected.


Power Supply

  • Type: internal dual linear power supply
  • Input Voltage: 90-125 V / 200-240 V, 50-60 Hz
  • Power consumption: 12 W during oscillator warm-up, 8 W nominal operation

Mechanical Details

  • Cover size/material/color: 196 x 84 x 300 mm (W x H x D, without connectors and case feet), 1,5 mm steel, black powder-coated
  • Front panel size/material/surface/color: 198 x 88 x 8 mm (W x H x D), aluminium, anodized incl. anodic printing or silk screening, aluminium- or black-colored
  • Weight: approx. 4350 g (9 lb, 9.5 oz)

REF10 SE120 Order Information

  • Front aluminum-colored: Item No. 8015-107, EAN-Code: 4260342461075
  • Front black-colored: Item No. 8015-108, EAN-Code: 4260342461082

User Stories

Rajiv Arora
  • Rajiv Arora, Audiophile Style, USA
    "The overarching advantage of the REF10 SE120 over its predecessor was one of tighter articulation and focus, or greater coherence and resolution. It all added up to an uptick in realism - a more palpable sense of being there, of instruments sounding more fleshed out and dimensional. To be honest, I was not expecting as big an impact as I heard."
    Rajiv Arora, Audiophile Style, USA
Harald Wittig
  • Harald Wittig, Fidelity - 06/2020, Germany
    "This is how digital audio should sound, the zeros and ones appear in perfect order. All digitally encrypted information is decrypted and results in the purest sound. This music experience, optimized thanks to the expertise of the SE120, causes a shift in the space-time continuum. When I find myself in front of the system the next morning, I have enjoyed ten High Res albums and I'm still wide awake. I bow to the big REF10, because it proves impressively that the highest level of engineering can result in the best music reproduction and can turn the night into a shining day."
Eric Sabino
  • Eric Sabino, audiostars.com.ph, Philippines
    "Out of the box I was blown away by the lack of grain and glare, sense of air around the instruments, resolution, three dimensional soundstage and quiet noise floor. It is a great time to be in our hobby now with all the available choices we have. Our passion for music links us all together to keep on searching and improving our system to bring us closer to the real thing. With the REF10 SE120, realism was taken to another level."
Ikuo Tsunoda
  • Ikuo Tsunoda, Phileweb.com
    "The most impressive component is its special oscillator, that reaches -120dB/c @1Hz – after having passed through demanding tests. The predecessor REF10 is known already for an extremely low phase noise and the stability of its clock signal provided by a remarkable discrete circuit. Now this update give us an impression of extended space and depth of the sound. It also sharpens the start of every single note. The REF10 SE120 can realize precisely how the musician does perform."
Beat Brüderlein
  • Beat Brüderlein, Germany
    "With the REF10 SE120 everything sounds noticeably more detailed (a little brighter) and at the same time finer (smoother), more dynamic, more spatial. Overall, it all sounds much more real (almost tangible). I would not have expected that. What is astonishing is that with a jitter of almost -120 dB already, further improvements are still perceptible. Otherwise I would have assumed that the regular REF10 was already an overkill in terms of human perception. In my view this is therefore refuted. With the REF10 SE120 you may now have a new reference for evaluating the jitter sensitivity of the human hearing."
Jan Modig
  • Jan Modig, Sweden
    "I have now been using the REF10 SE120 for a month now. It really started to shine after around three weeks of burn in and with constant power on. Wow! The REF10 SE120 must be counted as the best investment so far in my rig. I wasn't expecting the stunning performance I have got now. The definition of instruments, voices, their placing in the room, the rooms size, micro details. A complete new level of realm and effortlessness. The bass is now free from any "boomyness". I use all dipole speakers, Quad ESL's with Gradient subwoofers. The sound is now pure realism. The REF10 SE120 is contributing with a performance lift far beyond what I could imagine. Thanks MUTEC for such a great product!"
Frédéric Laglaive
  • Frédéric Laglaive, Your System Is Fantastic, France
    "I listened to my upgraded REF10 and the result is amazing: the separation between instruments, harmonic richness and spatialization are much better than before. Of course, the more complex the music is (like with orchestral pieces), the more clearly audible the improvement is. Well done!"
Bill Newman
  • Bill Newman, USA
    "I want to thank you all at MUTEC for that product! I have made a serious investment in my audio system and the REF10 SE120 is likewise a significant investment and I can say for me it was certainly a very good choice. When we are at the high end spectrum of audio sometimes we make significant investments to gain an incremental advance in sound quality. In the case with the REF10 SE120, my sound quality has made a great leap forward ... much more than an incremental improvement!"
Dr. Albert Uy
  • Dr. Albert Uy, Philippines
    "The reference clock increased the depth and width of soundstage. I really like the lateral sound on the back of speaker and lateral in front of the speaker, rendering the whole soundstage more believable like live music because of the quiet noise floor. More minute sound can be heard and the old music become new to me. Even the ambience which is the fortitude of my music room is enhanced. The mid bass and low bass are also more tonal in quality. Great piece of equipment indeed!"
Daniel Steinert
  • Daniel Steinert, Habst Kabelmanufaktur, Germany
    "I didn't think that the difference to my“ old ”REF10 would be so big. A real blast!"
Aldo Arrastia
  • Aldo Arrastia, USA
    "Resolution is impeccable with improved clarity and resolution. I’m once again enjoying all of my music library as if I’m listening to brand new albums. An incredible and gratifying experience!"

 

Logo REF10 SE120 info sheet REF10 SE120 Manual
RGB & CMYK PDF PDF
REF10 SE120 black/white front REF10 SE120 black/white back REF10 SE120 black/white left
CMYK  RGB CMYK  RGB CMYK  RGB
REF10 SE120 black/white right REF10 SE120 black/black front REF10 SE120 black/black left
CMYK  RGB CMYK  RGB CMYK  RGB
REF10 SE120 black/black right REF10 SE120 aluminium/white front REF10 SE120 aluminium/white left
CMYK  RGB CMYK  RGB CMYK  RGB
REF10 SE120 aluminium/white right REF10 SE120 MC_3+USB black/white REF10 SE120 MC_3+USB black/black
CMYK  RGB CMYK  RGB CMYK  RGB
REF10 SE120 MC-3Plus context I REF10 SE120 MC-3Plus context II REF10 SE120 MC-3Plus context III
CMYK  RGB CMYK  RGB CMYK  RGB

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Applications

  • Ultimate audiophile performance enhancement for compatible DACs, master clocks and re‑clockers by any other brand
  • Ultra‑low noise high stability clock reference for the entire digital audio chain at home or in the studio
  • Ideal high‑end upgrade for MUTEC’s own MC‑3+, MC‑3+USB, and iClock/iClock dp master clocks
  • Stabilization of existing audio video clock generators